<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Top Stories]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:23:14 -0700 Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:23:14 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mystery Solved: Amnesia Patient ID'd by Family]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:16:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/192*120/AmnesiaSisterPic_3.jpg

Nearly five months after showing up in a San Diego-area emergency room without any recollection of her name, age, family, or friends, a woman who calls herself “Sam” finally has an identity.

Ashley Menatta, 53, never married and has sisters in Colorado and Maryland. She was born in Pennsylvania, lived in Flagstaff, Arizona and several years ago found her way to Southern California living in La Jolla, Vista, and Carlsbad.

The woman’s plight captured world wide attention after our NBC 7 post went viral with a Facebook reach of 21.2 million people as of Wednesday afternoon. Facebook users shared the post nearly 200,000 times leading to thousands of tips and suggestions.

Menatta’s nephew watched the NBC 7 story online and immediately called his mom to tell her about the mystery woman: Aunt Ashley.

The FBI took the tip to Ashley and her friend Debbie Rough, a former nurse from Tri City Medical Center in Oceanside who championed the initial search for relatives. The phone call led to tears and details of her forgotten past.

“It was extremely emotional, we were all sobbing. They’re so sorry I had to go through what I did during this time without them,” said Menatta.

Carlsbad firefighters responded to an emergency call on February 1st and found Ashley Menatta in dire shape. Her blood pressure so low, she was barely conscious. She couldn’t tell paramedics anything about herself.

Doctors at Tri City Medical Center diagnosed the mystery woman with ovarian cancer, telling her the antibodies from the tumor possibly caused “retrograde amnesia."

Carlsbad police and the FBI got involved in an effort to help identify the mystery woman. They say more pressing responsibilities kept them from devoting the many hours needed to solve the case.

Searches of their finger print data base turned up empty.

“He (FBI agent) said you must be a good girl otherwise we’d have records of you,” said Menatta.

FBI agents posted Menatta’s picture and story to the Interpol website in an effort to attract global attention.

She spoke with an English/Australian accent and had vivid dreams about time spent in Perth.

Apparently I have a long time of visiting Australia for extended trips. I’ve been going there throughout my life” said Menatta. The family lost track of her in 2013 around the same time she showed up in Southern California and attended St. Patrick Catholic Church in Carlsbad.

The FBI says NBC 7’s Facebook post and subsequent stories generated numerous tips which helped put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Menatta plans to fly back to Maryland and live with one of her older sisters.

“She was just telling me she has a 4 bedroom large house and a lovely king size bed waiting for me.”

She thanks the millions of people around the world who watched her story and prayed and tried to help with leads and suggestions.

The story seems almost too remarkable to be true.

Did Ashley Menatta really forget everything when she showed up in the hospital back in February? We may never know for sure.

The FBI can’t confirm or deny the circumstances, but feels comfortable with the information they’ve provided to help facilitate a reunion.

Menatta’s close friends and the nurse who championed her story call her a genuine and sweet human being.

They believe she has the genuine faith in God which was the first thing she remembers feeling in the emergency room.

“I had peace where there should be none and I believed He would bring me back together with people that that were family and I trusted Him," she said.

Ashley Menatta will need to continue with chemotherapy to treat the aggressive cancer, but with family and faith she says “she knows where she is going” and now, finally, where she came from too.

Photo Credit: NBC 7, Family photo
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<![CDATA[F-18 Makes Emergency Landing at MDW]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:00:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/1880652.jpg

A military jet made an emergency landing at Midway Airport Wednesday afternoon, according to officials.

The U.S. Navy F-18 was headed to Virginia from an airshow in Wisconsin when the plane’s pilot requested an emergency landing in Chicago after experiencing an engine malfunction, military officials said.

The jet landed safely at 12:40 p.m. with two passengers on board.

The cause of the F-18’s engine malfunction is under investigation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Murder Suspect’s DNA Found in McStay Car: Docs]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:08:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/McStay-Family-Crop-2013_4.jpg

Search warrants in the mysterious McStay family murders case were unsealed Wednesday and, among new revelations, the documents said the DNA of the accused was found in the family’s vehicle abandoned near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Charles Merritt – who is facing the death penalty at his trial slated for Aug. 10 – is suspected of killing business partner Joseph McStay, as well as McStay’s wife, Summer, and the couple’s children, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr. in February 2010.

The family vanished from their home in Fallbrook, California, north of San Diego County, on Feb. 4, 2010. Four days later, the McStay family’s 1996 Isuzu Trooper was found in a parking lot near the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro.

The newly-unsealed search warrants in the quadruple-murder case say detectives analyzed the family’s vehicle and collected DNA swabs. When detectives looked at this DNA evidence again in February 2014, criminalists matched the DNA collected from the Trooper to Merritt.

Merritt’s DNA was found on the steering wheel, the shifter and the radio and A/C control panel.
The warrants say Merritt’s DNA had been collected in February 2010 while the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSO) was investigating the disappearance of the McStay family as a missing persons case.

Merritt was interviewed by SDSO investigators during this time and on Feb. 17, 2010, he told investigators he had last been in the Trooper with Joseph McStay six weeks before the family vanished. Merritt claimed he sat in the front seat and had never driven the Trooper.

The warrants say Merritt “had a fresh injury to his hand” during this interview, which he said was from cutting his hand on sheet metal.

“Merritt made several statements about Joseph in the past tense, including “Joseph was,” leading investigators to believe Merritt knew Joseph and the family were deceased,” the warrants state.

In later interviews, Merritt told detectives he did not like Summer McStay. He also told investigators he did not like another business partner he and Joseph had been working with and said, “If I were ever going to commit murder, it would be with him,” referring to harming the other business partner.

When detectives spoke with this other business partner, he told detectives Joseph had lent Merritt $30,000 to pay a gambling debt and that Joseph planned to fire Merritt.

The men were partners in Joseph’s business, Earth Inspired Products (EIP), a water fountain design and distribution company. Merritt was hired as a designer and builder of the custom fountains sold by EIP.

On Nov. 11, 2013 – nearly four years after the family’s disappearance – the skeletal remains of the McStay family were uncovered in shallow graves in a very remote desert location in Victorville, Calif., near Stoddard Wells and Quarry roads.

The partial skull of one of the children was bleached white due to exposure to the elements, as the remains had been there for an undetermined amount of time. A sledgehammer was found in one of the graves.

Merritt was arrested in connection with the murders in November 2014. He has pleaded not guilty in the slayings.

To read the search warrants in full, click here

The search warrants reveal investigators also spoke with a personal friend of both Joseph and Summer who had been hired to paint the inside of the family’s Fallbrook home.

This friend had been in the home days prior to the McStay family’s disappearance and was scheduled to finish painting, but could not get a hold of the couple after Feb. 4, 2010.

The friend told investigators he went to the McStay’s home again on Feb. 17, 2010, with Joseph’s mother, Susan Blake, at her request, because she didn’t want to be alone. This was after the family was reported missing but before the SDSO obtained a search warrant for the residence, according to the documents.

He noticed Blake was cleaning the house, which “struck [him] as odd because he felt it could destroy evidence,” the search warrants say.

As he walked through the house the Blake, the friend spotted “three things that struck him as being odd or out of place.”

This included a missing cover for a futon in the family room area that he specifically remembered had a cover. The second was some dried up paint in one of the paint trays.

According to the search warrants, the painter had taught Summer how to properly line a paint tray with foil to make clean-up easier because she had complained about cleaning the trays and brushes.

Finally, the friend noticed clothes strewn all over the floor in the upstairs bedroom. The friend felt this was out of character because Joseph was not a messy person. He knew this because he had been roommates with Joseph in the past, he told investigators, and Joseph would not have left behind that type of mess.

As revealed during Merritt’s preliminary hearing last month, the search warrants note that the cause of death for the McStay family was blunt force trauma and one of the murder weapons was likely the sledgehammer found at the gravesite in the Southern California desert.

A detective states in the warrants that murder by blunt force trauma usually generates a large about of blood and leaves blood stains at the crime scene.

Still, detectives had not been able to locate a crime scene that showed where the family had been killed. SDSO investigators had been treating the case as a missing persons case and “did not process the residence for latent evidence such as blood stains,” the search warrants state.

SDSO investigators did not believe there were signs of a struggle inside the home.

However, based on the odd things the family friend reported to investigators, a detective with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department states in the warrants that there is probable cause to believe the McStay family was murdered inside their Fallbrook home.

The detective states one of the clues is that the cover missing from the futon was used to wrap Joseph’s body and was found at the desert gravesite. A possible paint stain was found on Summer’s bra at the gravesite, too, that may have dripped onto her as she lay on her side at the crime scene.

“Based on my training and experience, criminals who commit murder will typically attempt to clean the crime scene,” the detective says in the search warrants.

“Murder committed by blunt force trauma typically creates a large amount of blood stain splatter and cast off that could be on the ceiling of a room. One of the attempted ways to clean a scene is to paint over the blood stains, though a correct forensic processing of the crime scene would still show the blood stain, the blood stain would not be visible to the naked eye. The blood stain could also be detected by forensic experts years after it was painted over,” the detective adds.

The McStay home was sold months after the family went missing.

The warrants say DNA swabs and a piece of tan-colored carpet was taken from the McStay home by San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department investigators in 2014.

In the unsealed documents, investigators also say Merritt was the last person to see and talk to Joseph alive. Merritt met with Joseph at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., on Feb. 4, 2010.

Merritt told investigators they met to discuss business dealings. After the meeting, cellphone records show Joseph drove back to his home in Fallbrook.

Just before 8:30 p.m., Joseph called Merritt and they spoke about a fountain being fabricated for a company overseas. Investigators say phone records show this was the last activity on Joseph’s cellphone.

Merritt told detectives he had tried to call Joseph several times after the family vanished, but couldn’t reach him. He also said he visited the McStay home in an attempt to find the family on Feb. 9 or Feb. 10, 2010.

Detectives obtained phone records for Merritt to analyze where he was during the time of the family’s disappearance.

The warrants said “Merritt was in a position to access the cellular telephone tower northeast of the McStay family gravesite on Feb. 6, 2010 – two days after the family was last seen alive. Merritt made six phone calls in the area between 10:46 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. that day.

The warrants also say it’s “probable” that there was more than one suspect involved in the murders “since an entire family of four was murdered and transported to the desert."

NBC 7 reached out to Merritt's attorney, Jimmy Mettias, Wednesday for comment on the search warrants. Mettias is traveling out of the country and has not yet responded to NBC 7's request.

<![CDATA[LA Mayor Talks NFL Franchises With Chargers, Raiders]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:50:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/garcetti+getty.jpg

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with officials from the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders on Tuesday to discuss the possible return of one or more NFL franchises to the LA area.

Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis requested the meeting with the mayor, Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman told City News Service.

In a prepared statement, Millman said Garcetti "would welcome a team anywhere in the Los Angeles area."

He added that the mayor's office is "mindful that the Chargers, Raiders and (St. Louis) Rams are still actively discussing stadium deals in their current cities and the NFL has not yet approved a team moving to the Los Angeles area."

Millman said the meeting was not held to talk about a potential football site in downtown Los Angeles or within city limits. The city and AEG had an agreement for construction of a stadium adjacent to the Los Angeles Convention Center, but were unable to lure an NFL team to the site.

The Chargers and Raiders are working jointly on a possible stadium in Carson, if the teams can't reach stadium deals in their respective cities.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is moving forward with a planned stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Monsoonal Moisture Returns, Storms Possible]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:24:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/150630-lightning-strikes-722.gif

Monsoonal moisture will bring another chance of pulse thunderstorms to San Diego Wednesday.

“At the very least, we'll be warm and humid,” said NBC 7 Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh.

Storms moved across San Diego COunty Tuesday, bringing thunderstorms, dangerous lightning and rain.

Due to lightning strikes, most San Diego-area beaches were closed before 5 p.m., including Coronado and Imperial Beach.

For Wednesday, the tropical moisture will continue to seep into SoCal and bring with it another chance of thunderstorms in all forecast zones of San Diego County, Kodesh said.

The heat of the afternoon will combine with humid air for a 20 to 30 percent chance of pop-up thunderstorms that form over the deserts and mountains then slowly push to the west.

Heavy rain, gusty winds and more cloud to ground lighting is a strong possibility, she adds.


Photo Credit: KNBC
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<![CDATA[Ex-California Sen. Leland Yee Pleads Guilty]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:52:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_senado_california_suspende_leland_yee.jpg

Leland Yee, a former California state senator,  pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony racketeering charge in an organized crime and public corruption case that brought down the once-popular legislator known for good government and gun control, ending his political career.

Yee, who previously has pleaded not guilty to bribery, money laundering and other felony charges, was scheduled to go on trial in late July in the sweeping case that was centered in San Francisco's Chinatown.

But he changed his plea Wednesday in San Francisco federal court and will likely serve some time in prison, legal analysts say. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal sentencing guidelines and the plea agreement obtained by NBC Bay Area. He admitted to a long list of crimes, including wire fraud and quid pro quo favors in return for campaign contributions, from 2011 to March 2014, in a spree called the "campaign," the plea deal shows. In many of the cases, Yee was interacting with undercover FBI agents.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is scheduled to sentence Yee on Oct. 21.

Before the hearing, reporters tweeted that he was smiling and chatting with them as he was forced to sit in the media section as there wasn't enough room. Afterward, neither he nor his attorney had any comment.

Right after Yee, Keith Jackson, a former San Francisco school board member who acted as Yee's consultant and fundraiser, pleaded guilty to the same charge.

In a statement, Jackson's attorney at Morrison and Foerster said: " Keith Jackson has entered an honest plea to what he actually did when the FBI embroiled him in their activities. The FBI started by hiring Mr. Jackson and paying him money to do perfectly lawful things. They also promised him great wealth. After they had done that, they began to embroil him in the matter that brings him to his plea today. Mr. Jackson has contributed a great deal to this community over the years. He is attempting, by this plea, to put his life back together in hopes that he will be allowed to contribute more in the future. ”

Jackson's son, Brandon Jackson, and former sports agent Marlon Sullivan, also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on Wednesday, under separate plea deals.

The FBI arrested Yee and 19 others last year during a series of raids throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. NBC Bay Area first broke the news of his arrest in March 2014.

Yee was accused of soliciting and accepting bribes from an alleged Chinatown gang leader in exchange for providing help from Sacramento. The FBI also alleged that the San Francisco Democrat, who was running for secretary of state at the time, conspired to connect an undercover agent with an international arms dealer in exchange for campaign contributions.

The arrests were the culmination of the FBI's eight-year investigation of Raymond "Shrimp Boy'' Chow, the elected "dragonhead'' of a Chinese-American association called Ghee Kung Tong. The FBI alleges the association was a racketeering enterprise and that undercover agents laundered $2.6 million in cash from illegal bookmaking through the organization.

Chow has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.

Sudhin Thanawala from the Associated Press and NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Stephanie Chuang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[First Day of July Sees Dreary Weather]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:03:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rainy+weather+getty.jpg After yesterday's bizarre weather, NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe tracked the rain showers in San Diego County. He reports on the dreary weather on the first day of July.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Healthy Pets Entering Shelters Can Be Euthanized]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:20:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pit+bull+getty.jpg

San Diego animal shelters will no longer be allowed to euthanize any healthy or treatable animal that enters their shelter.

The move is a part of "Getting to Zero," the San Diego Animal Welfare Coalition (SDAWC)'s movement to eliminate unncessary euthanasia of animals in shelters. 

Any animal that is healthy or can be treated cannot be put down as of July 1, the SDAWC announced today in a press conference. SDAWC is comprised of seven local animal sheltering organizations and 11 shelters.

"We pledge that we are going to stay at zero euthanasia for this county, forever," said County Department of Animal Services 

The SDAWC had pledged to achieve “Getting to Zero,” a movement to eliminate unnecessary euthanasia of animals in shelters.

About 45,000 animals enter shelters every year and 13 percent with treatable medical conditions have been euthanized.

Animals suffering from terminal illness will still be euthanized if not adopted, but those that are healthy are no longer in danger.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dolphin Leaps Onto Boat, Breaks Woman's Ankles]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:20:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/knbc-dolphin-jumps-onto-boat.jpg

A trip out to sea for a Southern California couple celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary turned into a trip to the emergency room after a 350-pound dolphin leaped onto the boat, knocking the woman over and breaking both her ankles.

Dirk and Chrissie Frickman and their two teenaged children were boating off the Dana Point Harbor on June 21 when a pod of dolphins swam alongside them. One of the dolphins jumped into the small boat, hitting the railing and bouncing inside.

Chrissie Frickman wound up pinned beneath the thrashing dolphin until her husband pulled her free. The dolphin continued thrashing and bleeding from some cuts in the back of the boat.

"It had bounced around so much it kind of injured its nose, injured its tail," Dirk Frickman said. "The blood started kind of spattering all over and my daughter looked and was like, 'Oh my God, please, don't let it die, don't let it die, don't let it die.'"

Frickman radioed the Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol and told them what happened. The patrol responded and pulled Chrissie and the couple's daughter from the boat to get them to shore and an ambulance. Dirk Frickman continued into the harbor, occasionally pouring water onto the dolphin.

When he made to the harbor, two people helped get a rope on the dolphin and get it back into the water. The wounded animal swam away.

"I was scared for the dolphin," said Chrissie Frickman, who is still in a wheelchair recovering from her broken ankles. "Like, I was kind of hoping it would just jump back out, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was scared for my kids, and, you know, you're like, 'Can they attack, how scared is it?' You know, just these crazy thoughts go through your head, but I'm sure it was just as traumatized as we were."

Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[$1M Bail for Suspect of Downtown Stabbing]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:16:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2015-06-29-06h34m24s60.png

A man accused of murdering a man by stabbing him twice in front of a popular downtown sushi restaurant appeared in front of a judge for the first time Wednesday, pleading for sympathy.

Santiago Abraham Jr., 64, is charged with first degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of a 43-year-old unidentified man.

The incident happened around 3:15 a.m. Sunday on the 400 block of Broadway near RA Sushi.

Abraham’s attorney said it was self-defense, but the prosecutor said a security guard witnessed the two fighting and told them to stop.That’s when the prosecutor says the suspect seized the opportunity to deliver the fatal blow, stabbing the victim in the neck.

Judge David Szumowski set bail at $1 million, an amount that “prevents someone like this defendant from being out in the community and subjecting our community members to this type of violence,” Deputy District Attorney Melissa Vasel said.

When the judge asked if he wanted a bail review at a later time, the transient man responded.

“$1 million? I can’t afford it,” he said. “I make $1,135 a month. Maybe you can help me out. Sympathy from the court?”

“I’m not a sympathetic kind of guy on cases like this,” said Szumowski.

Abraham’s attorney says he does not have any previous violent offenses but does have misdemeanor charges from decades ago in Florida.

The knife he is accused of using was found in his pocket, according to the prosecutor, after he wiped off the blood.

Authorities said the victim was from out of town and had not lived in San Diego for long.

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<![CDATA[Local Family Hit by Deputy's Car Plans to Sue]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:57:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/deputy+crashes+into+family+van+san+marcos+%283%29.JPG

The family involved in a crash with a deputy plans to sue the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for negligence.

A deputy crashed into the Auten family’s van on early Sunday morning on the West San Marcos Boulevard off-ramp from State Route 78.

The family on Wednesday told NBC 7 that they planned to file a lawsuit against the sheriff's department.

They were returning from a trip to Wyoming, with their three children in the van. The family says multiple law enforcement vehicles passed by them before their van was struck from the back by the deputy’s vehicle.

The deputy was racing to respond to a call, but the family said they viewed his rate of speed as negligent.

The San Diego Sheriff's Department has declined to comment on the potential litigation.

The youngest child, 10-year old Lexi Auten, was in the back of the van and was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

The deputy and youth explorer riding with him were also treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

“We had luggage in the back and we feel that it protected our daughter,” said father Floyd Auten.

The family says the deputy has apologized, but the accident has left them with emotional scars.

Photo Credit: Floyd Auten]]>
<![CDATA[Fourth of July: What You Should Know]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:43:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP863047613399.jpg

There will no doubt be plenty of beer and fireworks this Fourth of July.

Although we celebrate Independence Day on July 4 every year, that may not be the correct date of America's independence from Britain. In fact, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail hailing July 2 as the day people would celebrate America for generations to come.

That's because on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution for independence. However, America celebrates July 4 because that was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Here's a look at other things to know this July 4:

15,000 - The approximate number of July 4 fireworks shows that took place in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

41.9 Million - The number of travelers AAA predicts will travel 50 miles or more from home during the holiday weekend.

150 Million - The approximate number of hot dogs to be consumed on the Fourth of July, according to Marketresearch.com.

61 - The number of hot dogs San Jose native Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn last year for the eighth time in a row. He also proposed to his girlfriend, fellow competitive eater Neslie Ricasa. She said yes.

69 - The hot dog eating record Joey Chestnut set in 2013.

6.8 Million - Number of singles sold of Katy Perry's "Firework" from her third studio album "Teenage Dream," according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

- The percentage of consumer fireworks that are made in China, according to The New York Times.

3 - The number of U.S. presidents who have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe also died on July 4, five years later.

1870 - The year Congress passed a bill to make July 4 a national holiday, though it has been celebrated as early as 1977, according to Time.

$55.84 - The average cost of a barbeque cookout this summer for 10 people, according to a survey of grocery stores in 30 states.

201.6 Million - The number of pounds of fireworks consumers used in 2014, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

15 - The number of seconds San Diego's fireworks show lasted in 2012 when tens of thousands of fireworks were accidentally shot off at the same time.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Thieves Attempt to Break Into Encinitas Jewelry Store]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:04:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/police-light-SDPD-generic.jpg

Smashed windows and bits of broken glass were left behind at an Encinitas jewelry store overnight after unknown thieves tried to break into the business.

Deputies said the attempted break-in happened around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday at David Bernatz Jewelers in the 1000 block of North El Camino Real. The windows to the shop were shattered and employees were left to clean the mess.

Deputies said there were no arrests in the case, as the suspect quickly fled the scene. A description of the suspects was not available.

No injuries were reported in the would-be heist.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Cool Eats: Snow Cones in San Diego]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:33:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Ice-Blast-Shave-Ice.jpg

Shaved ice, snow cones, snowballs. Believe or not, sunny San Diego has plenty of icy blasts – at least the kind served with sweet syrups at local businesses all over the county. Check out this cool round-up of some of the best local spots for sweet snow cones this summer from our friends at Yelp.

Baltimore Snowball (San Marcos & Escondido)
Owners Joe and Loretta bring the best of Baltimore to San Diego with this “snowball” shop and their cool, creative combos can’t be beat. Our favorite is “The Elvis” made with chocolate ice cream, layered with peanut butter, peanut butter sauce and banana snow… then MORE peanut butter and chocolate sauce! Runner-up has to be “The Ocean City Sunset” with flavors of orange, marshmallow, banana, peach and cream. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out.

Sunset Ice Shack (Tierrasanta)
Hawaiian-style shaved ice and ice cream (plus amazing Acai and Chamango, too) keep customers happy at this hidden gem. You’ll find fun tropical tastes like the “Totes Ma Goats” with piña colada and coconut and the “Endless Summer,” the menu’s best-seller, packing a punch of passion fruit and guava. Stop in to get a bit of that island style in your life, and take your temperature down a peg or two.

Ice Blast Shaved Ice (Kearny Mesa)
Fluffy Hawaiian shaved ice is the perfect dessert for a heat wave or after a spicy meal, and here you’ll find all the classic flavors with a fusion of Asian flair. This Kearny Mesa joint stocks a Li Hing (salted plum) powder that you can add to your selections for a sweet and sour tang. You can create any combo of flavors you want here, but the menu board lists suggestions like the “Pretty in Pink,” made with pink lemonade, guava and coconut.

Southern Snoballs (Oceanside)
This North County spot specializes in sweet snow cones served up with Southern hospitality and made with Carlsbad Alkaline water. Patrons also have the option to try the snow cones “NOLA style,” meaning stuffed with ice cream and topped with condensed milk. Locally-owned and a favorite with reviewers, after a day at the beach this is the place to be. Don’t be worries if the line is deep, the snow servers sling their selections with serious speed.

Wahine Kai Shaved Ice (Scripps Ranch)
One of the best places to mix and match new flavors as this place stocks more than 30 flavors at any given time. Here, the ice is shaved super fine for a texture of treat that almost floats in your mouth. If it’s too hot to make hard choices, we suggest the “Dreamcicle,” the “Coco Moco,” or trying your snow cone of choice “Halo Halo style” – mixed with sweet red beans and condensed milk. This neighborhood shop is small, but mighty, so worth waiting your turn.

SnoCal Shaved Ice (Food Truck, various locations)
Go mobile with your frozen dessert and grab a treat from this food truck scooping serious shaved snow satisfaction. The owner’s name is Joe, and, as he puts it, he’s “here to shave your snow.” A trip to Hawaii sparked his business launch and now you can find him bringing the snow to the sand of San Diego. His treats use pure cane sugar and no high fructose corn syrup and the menu boasts a long list of flavors, plus add-ons and toppings like mochi, sour spray, chili powder and Pop Rocks.

Photo Credit: Ice Blast Shaved Ice/Facebook
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<![CDATA[Pet Turtle Survives Ocean Beach House Fire]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:37:44 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ocean-beach-pet-turtle-fire.jpg

An Ocean Beach family and their pet turtle escaped a house fire Wednesday caused by a candle, fire officials said.

The fire started around 2 a.m. in the back of the home on Saratoga Avenue near Cable Street.

The two people living in the home say they went to bed with candles still burning. Fire investigators say those candles appear to have started this fire.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire in about 20 minutes but could not save the home or the contents inside.

Two other buildings on the same property were not damaged.

The San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross is offering assistance to the residents in finding temporary housing.

<![CDATA[Local Residents Divided on New Vaccine Bill]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:47:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tetanus-Vaccine.jpg

The response was divided among locals upon hearing news that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a controversial school vaccine bill into law.

Under the new law signed Tuesday, only children with serious health concerns can opt out of school-mandated vaccinations.

Hundreds weighed in on NBC 7's Facebook page, voicing anything from displeasure to support. Here are several of the responses.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Parents Accused of Leaving Baby in Hot Car Sob in Court]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:04:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tot-Car-Death-0701.jpg

An El Cajon couple, accused of leaving their infant in a hot car sobbed as attorneys presented opening statements in court Wednesday.

Israel Soto and Jessica Quezada are accused of leaving their 4-month-old son in a hot car overnight two years ago.

Family members found the baby inside a hot car at an apartment complex on North Mollison Avenue on Saturday, July 27. Little Giovanni Soto was left in the car for 15 hours and found unresponsive. He died later that day.

According to investigators, the couple left Giovanni in the car overnight after returning home from shopping.

A medical examiner’s report later revealed the infant had a body temperature of 107 degrees at the time of his death.

Prosecution called the first witness Adelina Gomez, who lived in the same apartment as the accused couple.

The prosecution argued Baby Giovanni’s death could have been avoided had the parents not been so negligent.

Quezada was smoking marijuana with her brother just six feet away from the car, prosecutors said.
Her defense attorney argued Quezada was overwhelmed and made a tragic mistake.

The couple three other children have up-to-date immunization records and they are well-fed and cared for, Soto’s defense attorney said.

Both Soto and Quezada face child endangerment charges and up to 12 years in prison if convicted. Quezada is also charged with the possession of methamphetamine.

<![CDATA[New Hints, Speculation Surround Amnesia Patient's ID]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:46:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sam+amnesia+patient.jpg

As the mystery surrounding an amnesia patient and her past goes viral, people are flooding NBC 7 with clues and speculation as to whom the woman with the Australian accent may be.

In the latest hint Tuesday, Carlsbad resident Ann Dahl said she knows the woman from a Bible study at a Catholic church with a significant location.

“She went by Samantha to us; she called herself Sam,” said Ann Dahl. “She said it was a writer’s name when I met her because she was here from Australia. She referred to Australia back then.”

Dahl told NBC 7 she first met Sam at St. Patrick Catholic Church, which it located at the corner of Adams Street and Tamarack Avenue. The intersection is the same one where firefighters picked up the mysterious woman on Feb. 1, finding her barely breathing.

The woman could not remember her name, age or anything about her past. Doctors at Tri City Medical Center explained to her that antibodies from a malignant tumor, brought on by her Stage 3 ovarian cancer, may have caused amnesia.

Dahl believes Sam was homeless, but she seemed genuine in her faith and never asked for money. She regularly saw Sam at St. Patrick, worshipping and attending the Bible study.

"I know the voice; I know the face, although she's gained a little weight and the whole persona is the same,” said Dahl.

However, one aspect of Sam’s persona is still questionable to Dahl: her Australian accent. After NBC 7 posted the story to Facebook, tens of thousands of people weighed in, many with comments echoing the same skepticism, saying her accent sounds more English.

Sam told NBC 7 about dreams of Perth, Australia, where she thinks she lived. But Amy Schaefer, a Utah resident, says she knew Sam 20 years ago in Flagstaff, Arizona, by another name and claims Sam is 100 percent American. She told NBC 7 Sam seemed "eccentric" back then, often breaking into an English accent. Schaefer contacted Carlsbad Police Tuesday night and says the woman who answered the phone said "Sam had already been identified."

When NBC 7 asked Carlsbad Police to explain, they referred all questions to the FBI. An FBI spokesperson, aware of the increased media attention around the globe as a result of NBC 7's story, said the new information gathered today should help lead to a definitive identification soon.

Many, including Dahl, are not sure what to think of Sam and her enigmatic past.

"I'm hoping to God that somehow this brings an answer to this and if she does have relatives that they recognize this and they find her,” said Dahl.

<![CDATA[Two Killed in Fiery East Texas Plane Crash]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:52:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/plane-crash-quinlan-02.jpg

Two people were killed Wednesday when a plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from an East Texas airstrip, sources tell NBC 5.

First responders were seen placing two tarps over what remained of the burned out aircraft, indicating there were two victims in the crash.

The airstrip's owner, Walter Meziere of Quinlan, was the pilot of the aircraft. Trooper Kyle Bradford of the Texas Department of Public Safety says Meziere, who was 54, and his 49-year-old passenger, Joe Livingston of McKinney, were both killed in the crash.

According to Lynn Lunsford with the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Piper PA-24, which can seat four occupants, had departed the private Rockin' M Airport northeast of Quinlan early Wednesday afternoon.

Only a few moments later, the plane crashed into a field about 1,000 feet east of the north-south grass runway. The plane came to rest a few yards from a residence in rural Hunt County.

At this time, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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<![CDATA[Attack of the Leap Second: Sites Impacted Tuesday]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:09:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/amazon-453056767.jpg

UPDATE: The connectivity issue previously identified as a root cause for the outage was unrelated to the "leap second bug." The connectivity issue resulted from a provider outside the AWS network, and prevented some users from accessing the sites. At the same time, the "leap second bug" affected a smaller number of customers. Amazon Web Services was not down and the services did not suffer an outage.

All issues with Amazon Web Services were resolved about 40 minutes after the issues emerged, the company said. "We have worked with this external Internet service provider to ensure that this does not reoccur."

The original article has been updated to reflect the clarification from Amazon.

Several major sites went down after the scheduled leap second on Tuesday evening, including Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix and Amazon.com.

Those sites all rely on Amazon Web Services for their Internet infrastructure. AWS, which powers several other major sites and social media platforms, suffered a connectivity issue between 8:25 p.m. to 9:07 p.m. ET (5:25 p.m. and 6:07 p.m. PT).

"We experienced an Internet connectivity issue with a provider outside of our network," Amazon Web Services said in an announcement on its Service Health Dashboard. "The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally."

At the same time, a "leap second bug" also disrupted access for a small number of customers.

"We have seen with these reported issues that this has been caused by a leap second bug within the instance operating system," the post on the AWS dashboard said.

Call it the new Y2K bug — except this one actually did some damage.

Several other sites were crippled around the same time, although it wasn't immediately clear what caused those outages. Apple's newly launched music streaming service, Beats 1, apparently suffered an outage for nearly 40 minutes, as did task management sites like Asana, Slack and SocialFlow.

The leap second, as it's known, is a slight adjustment for the tiny inconsistencies in the length of a day.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Asiana Faces New Suit Related to 2013 Crash]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:20:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_asiana_airlines_nuevo.jpg

Asiana Airlines is facing a new class-action lawsuit from passengers on the plane that crashed at San Francisco International Airport nearly two years ago.

Three teenagers from China died in the July 2013 crash of flight 214 while more than 180 of the 300 passengers were injured.

According to Reuters News Service, the lawsuit, filed in South Korea, was brought by 53 passengers seeking compensation for “injuries, mental distress and damage to property.” There was a previous lawsuit filed in the U.S. by 72 passengers, which later settled for an undisclosed amount.

The Korea Herald reported that among the passengers filing the suit are 27 South Koreans, 25 Chinese and one Indian, Jason Ha, who is a lawyer at Barun Law which filed the complaint on June 26. Any action taken against the airline must be made within two years of the incident.

The lawsuit seeks about $30 million in damages for the passengers who suffered injuries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FLEX ALERT Issued, Residents Asked to Conserve Power]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:51:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/power_lines_generic.jpg

A Flex Alert has been issued by the agency managing the bulk of California’s energy grid, asking residents to reduce their power use Tuesday and Wednesday as temperatures climb.

The California Independent System Operator is asking residents to use less power between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. both days because of anticipated high demand on the system as a result of the heat.

Temperatures are expected to reach into the high 70s for downtown San Diego and the low 90s for inland San Diego County Tuesday and Wednesday.

To help save energy, residents can turn off central air conditioning, use fans, power down and unplug equipment, turn off unnecessary lights or close blinds to block the heat.

For additional tips, go to the San Diego Gas & Electric website.

SDG&E previously said they would have enough power to meet summer’s demand but said they would likely ask residents to conserve during certain periods of time.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Tourist's Selfie Atop Bridge]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:50:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/brooklyn+bridge+selfie.jpg

An Instagram selfie showing a tourist posing atop the Brooklyn Bridge has renewed concerns about bridge security in New York City as the July 4th holiday approaches.

David Karnauch took the photo after he climbed the bridge on impulse, he said. He was never questioned or stopped.

"You could just get on a beam and it actually had handrails on the left and right side, and I just walked across the bridge and turned around to take a picture," he told NBC 4 New York over Skype from his home in Chattanooga, Tennesse. 

"I don't recommend anybody else do it. It's not a smart thing to do because I know they take security on the bridges seriously," he said. 

In fact,  the NYPD and other law enforcement officials have been calling for vigilance as July 4th approaches amid some of the highest terror chatter in years. In the last two weeks, there have been three ISIS-related raids in New York and New Jersey, and four arrests. 

"We have no specific information about anything directed at the city, but as reflected by the arrests in this locale in the last couple of weeks, we are always worried about not so much what we know but what we don't know," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday. 

The NYPD said in a statement Tuesday it doesn't consider Karnauch's climb a security breach.

"The person most endangered was the individual whose goal seems to be bringing attention to himself," NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorisn John J. Miller said in a statement to NBC 4 New York. "It was however, irresponsible and illegal. Had the officers patrolling the bridge arrived while he was there, he would have been arrested, as others have been. When he called the act 'not a smart thing to do,' he described it correctly." 

Miller added at a news conference Wednesday that Karnauch wouldn't have been able to get much further on the crossover because there is a fence that's "very difficult to climb around." 

"He looked at that and he said, 'Damn, I'm not getting around that, so I'll take my selfie stick and I'll take this stupid picture and I'll put it on my website,' but that's as far as he got," said Miller, calling Karnauch a "knucklehead." 

He reiterated: "If he'd stayed there probably a couple more minutes to get that shot, the roving patrols on the bridge, which are there all the time, would have arrested him or summonsed him as they had had others who have done the same stupid thing," he said. 

Still, the fact that Karnauch was able to get up so easily worried some New Yorkers crossing the iconic bridge Tuesday night.

"It's not only dangerous for the person, but dangerous for the pedestrian crossing the bridge," said Mark D'Alessandro of Brooklyn, who often walks across the bridge with his son.

He added, "It's not the only bridge we have a problem with. New York is big, we have a lot of landmarks." 

Miller said "that particular spot on the bridge has nothing to do with the structural integrity of the bridge from a terrorism standpoint."

"To conflate that behavior with a threat to the 4th of July... is to try and take a story that is no story to build it up into something more than it is," he told reporters. 

He said at the news conference that the NYPD's terrorism bureau has conducted a threat assessment and there is no known credible threat to New York City or the 4th of July celebration. 

Karnauch's stunt follows a year of bridge breaches. In November, French tourist Yonathin Souid climbed the bridge to take photos, and Russian tourist Yaroslav Kolchin climbed a beam last August. Each was sentenced to community service.

On July 22, 2014, two bleached-white American flags were found planted on the bridge span. Two German artists claimed they'd installed the flags as part of a project to celebrate the German engineer who designed the bridge.

"It just shows the NYPD can't be everywhere all the time. We need to create an environment where this isn't possible," said state senator Daniel Squadron, who supported a measure to toughen penalties on bridge climbers. The bill stalled in Albany. 

More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, said the city's Department of Transportation, which maintains the crossing.

Photo Credit: David Karnauch
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<![CDATA[Jim Carrey Calls Calif. Gov. 'Fascist' Over Vaccines]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 05:31:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_170468991560.jpg

Actor Jim Carrey turned to Twitter to air his frustrations over California's new strict vaccination law on Tuesday, calling Gov. Jerry Brown a "corporate fascist."

In a series of tweets, the Golden Globe winner insisted that he was "pro-vaccine" but "anti-neutrotoxin" and "anti-mercury," which, he believes causes autism in children. The rant started with Carrey saying California's governor, who signed in the one of the strictest immunization laws in the country, "must be stopped."

Carrey and former girlfriend Jenny McCarthy, who believe McCarthy's son's autism was caused by vaccines, have become activists on the issue. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is "no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and [autism], as well as no link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and [autism] in children."

In the same Twitter tirade, Carrey also accused the CDC of being "corrupt" and unable to "solve a problem they helped start."

The California bill removes the state's personal belief exemption for immunizations and instead says that only children with serious health problems may opt out. It came in the wake of a measles outbreak at Disneyland last year that affected more than 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico. 

"This is truly a case where science — and what is the best case for public health — prevailed," state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, said at a press conference Tuesday.

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<![CDATA[Your July 4 BBQ Will Cost Less This Year]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:26:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476834560_July4Burger.jpg

As millions of Americans across the U.S. get ready to fire up the grill over the July Fourth holiday weekend, they're likely to spend less at the checkout line this year.

All-American staples like hot dogs, hamburgers, pork ribs, and potato salad will cost 3% less this year compared to last, according to a recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The survey estimated that the average cost of this summer's cookout for ten people will be around $55.84, or $5.58 per person. The survey was taken at local grocery stores across 30 states and factored in costs for items like condiments, side dishes, snacks, and beverages. 

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“Based on our survey, food prices overall appear to be fairly stable. Prices for beef have continued to increase this year, but prices for other meats are generally declining. Dairy product prices are also quite a bit lower,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF. Anderson added that although meat production is beginning to increase generally, beef prices have stabilized and pork prices have been in decline all year. 

"Fuel and other energy prices have also generally been lower so far this year compared to last year," said Anderson. "This helps keep prices down on the more processed items in the basket. Energy is an important component of the final price for these products."

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The American Farm Bureau Federation is the country's largest farm organization and has chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The cookout survey is part of a series which includes an annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Girl Scouts Refuse $100,000 Over Request to Exclude Transgender Girls]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:30:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/girlscouts1.jpg

A Washington state Girl Scouts chapter says it returned a $100,000 pledge from a donor who asked that the money not be used to help any transgender girls in the program.

Megan Ferland, council head of Girl Scouts of Western Washington, said the request from the donor, who she did not identify publicly, came in May, after news of Caitlyn Jenner's transition made headlines.  

"Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls," the note read, according to a report in Seattle Metropolitan magazine. "If you can't, please return the money."

Girl Scouts of America has allowed transgender girls in their program over the years, with the belief that every girl should be allowed to serve. That stance was cited when the organization announced the would not be accepting the money.

"Girl Scouts is for every girl," Ferland told Seattle Metropolitan. "And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to."

The donation would have covered nearly a quarter of the council's annual fundraising goal — enough to send 500 girls to summer camp. An Indiegogo online fundraiser set up to recoup the lost cash, called Girl Scouts is #ForEveryGirl," has generated more than $250,000 in donations from 5,000 people.  

The Girl Scouts made headlines four years ago when the organization took to explicitly stating its stance on transgender scouts on its website,saying if the parents and community recognize the child as a girl and she is treated as one, she is allowed to have a spot in Girl Scouts.

That belief drew outrage from religious-centered organizations, with responses ranging from boycots of Girl Scout cookies to demands that Girl Scouts only allow “biological” girls in the program.

"Luckily, we don't serve our critics," Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts USA's chief girl expert told CNN. "We are proud to serve all girls."

<![CDATA[Accused Drug Dealer Ordered 'Keep Kids Drug Free' License Plate: DA]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:01:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/license+plate2.jpg

An accused drug dealer specially ordered a license plate for his BMW that read “Keep Kids Drug Free” and bore the letters “LIFTD,” slang for getting high, prosecutors said.

Eric Gomez, 29, was charged along with Brian Poole, 27, in a scheme to bring potent, high-grade strains of California-grown marijuana to Long Island, according to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege Poole was the ring leader of the operation and Gomez was his chief reseller. Poole allegedly arranged for the monthly delivery of about 80 pounds of marijuana from California to Suffolk County.

He made $500 to $800 per pound, depending on the strain of marijuana he chose to import. The 11 strains of marijuana he imported were marketed with names like “Girl Scout Cookies,” “Chem Dawg,” “OG Kush,” “Death Star,” “Jedi,” “Grand Daddy Purples,” “Hash Train,” “Jack the Ripper,” “Cheese,” and “Green Crack,” officials allege.

Investigators seized several weapons from the men, including a defaced, loaded handgun and an electronic stun gun, prosecutors said. Police also recovered $200,000 in cash from the pot sales, including tens of thousands of dollars in cash that detectives found in a child’s backpack in the trunk of Gomez’s Camaro.

Officials also found the anti-drug license plate with the ironic lettering that Gomez specially ordered for his BMW.

Poole, a prior violent felony offender, is being held on $1 million cash bail and a parole hold and Gomez was released on his own recognizance, prosecutors said. Attorney information was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Handout]]>
<![CDATA[El Cajon Land Purchased for $6.43M]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 08:20:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Colliers_Magnolia_Trails_1_t620.jpg

Housing developer KB Home of Los Angeles has acquired a 5.47-acre land parcel in El Cajon for $6.43 million, according to commercial brokerage company Colliers International.

The seller of the parcel at 103 E. Chase Ave., which is approved for development of a 44-lot residential subdivision, was recorded as Sam El Cajon 55 LLC. Colliers’ Ciara Trujillo, David Santistevan and Gunder Creager represented the seller, and KB Homes represented itself.

Brokers said plans for a new residential development, called Magnolia Trails, include single-family homes ranging in size from 1,768 to 2,732 square feet, with an average lot size of approximately 4,000 square feet.

Trujillo said in a statement that infill subdivisions with more than 20 lots are now “extremely hard to find” in San Diego County, putting them in high demand among public and private homebuilders.

Photo Credit: Aerial photo/map courtesy of Colliers International
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<![CDATA[Camp Pendleton to Host 4th of July Beach Bash]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:46:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/179075292.jpg

U.S. service members and their families are invited to attend a 4th of July beach party hosted by Camp Pendleton in the North County, the base said.

Camp Pendleton will host its 25th annual Beach Bash at the Del Mar Beach Resort on Saturday in honor of Independence Day.

The family-friendly shindig runs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature live entertainment, activities, a family fun zone, games, food and drinks. There will also be cash-prize giveaways and a chance to win a Ford Focus ST. The fun culminates with a fireworks show at 9 p.m.

It’s open to all Department of Defense identification card holders, Marines, sailors and their families, Camp Pendleton said. Organizers expect about 35,000 patrons to attend the celebration. For more info on the patriotic party, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Arrested After Boy, 4, Left Tied on Leash to Bush]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 06:25:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/child+tied+bush.jpg

A New York mother was arrested on a child endangerment charge after neighbors reported seeing a 4-year-old boy left alone on a sidewalk, his toddler leash tied to a bush, police say. 

The single mother didn't want to miss a day of work at her babysitting job Tuesday morning, but also had no one to watch her own son, her sister told NBC 4 New York. 

So Mery Quinde-Castro, of Rockland County, brought her son to work at the Blueberry Hill apartment complex in Spring Valley, her sister Rosa said. When she went to take out the trash, she took the boy along with her but he refused to come back into the building. 

Police said that's when she tied his plush backpack toddler leash to a bush and went back in to tend to the baby. She left him her phone so he could watch cartoons, police said.

"I don't think she understood the gravity of what had taken place," said Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica. "It could have been bad."

A neighbor called police after reportedly seeing the boy unattended for 45 minutes. The boy's mother said it was 10 minutes, police said. Either way, she was arrested and charged with misdemeanor child endangerment. 

Her sister Rosa Quinde-Castro, who frequently watches her nephew, said the boy is hyperactive and he needs the soft leash to stop him from running into traffic. 

"She did nothing wrong. She is a good mother," said Rosa Quinde-Castro. 

Police said the boy was well cared-for and happy, and there were no signs of abuse. They called it a case of bad judgment. 

"The kid could have disappeared, gotten hurt. It's not the proper thing to do," said Modica. 

Rosa said her sister is working to support herself and her son after the boy's father abandoned the family. She said Mery, who's visibly upset in her mugshot photo, would never do anything to hurt her son.

Mery Quinde-Castro was released on $2,500 cash bail. She left the courthouse to pick up her son afterward, relatives said. 

<![CDATA[Lightning, Severe T-Storms Blanket San Diego]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:51:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/0630-Lightning-3.jpg

The beaches are open and the thunderstorms have passed after several hours of severe weather warnings, heavy rainfall and lightning poured down across San Diego County. 

The "multi-cell cluster of pulse thunderstorms," as NBC7's Dagmar Midcap said, head out of the county by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

"We will enjoy a dryer and clearer evening and overnight with only very slight chances for a shower or storm to form mostly over the mountains," Midcap said. "It will stay warm and humid overnight and we’ll start the process all over again tomorrow."

A severe thunderstorm warning for San Diego and Riverside Counties went into effect at 1:30 p.m. and lifeguards temporarily cleared beaches for several hours, asking residents to stay out of the water and off the coast as lightening struck off the coast. A beach hazard warning put into place was lifted shortly before 5 p.m. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a coastal hazard message and said lightning was possible at the beaches but later lifted it. An aviation weather warning was in effect for San Diego International Airport for cloud to ground lightning from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. moving in from the southeast. 

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for San Diego and Riverside Counties that lasted until 3 p.m. for damaging winds moving faster than 60 miles per hour. Hail, lightning and very heavy rain are all possible in these conditions, the NWS said. 

Lifeguards began evacuating beaches around 1:30 p.m. Imperial Beach lifeguards asked beachgoers to get out of the water as a matter of policy due to lightning. Coronado Lifeguards asked beachgoers to get out of the water after reported lightning strikes off the beach. Beaches across San Diego County were being cleared out as heavy rain and possible thunderstorms approached. 

In the middle of the storm, lifeguards had to rescue a group of young swimmers about a mile north of Mission Beach caught in a rip current. There were no injuries, they said, but it could not have happened at a worse time. 

The California Highway Patrol said they believe lightning struck at least three powerpoles around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, knocking them down and into the road way. CHP officials initially issued a Sig Alert for Dye Road at Ramona Street in Ramona but later changed it to a hard closure as SDG&E crews worked to repair the damage throughout the night. 

The San Diego County Water Authority is reminding residents and businesses to turn off their sprinklers and other irrigation systems for at least two days following heavy rain. After heavy rain, irrigation systems can be left off for up to two weeks. 

Cal Fire said they have had lots of reports of lightning, but not confirmed fires. 

Check back for updates on this breaking news story. 

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<![CDATA[Pursuit Exceeds 100 MPH Through 3 Southern California Counties]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:25:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/06-30-2015-pursuit-suv-volvo-orange-la-san-diego.jpg

Officers pursued a sport utility vehicle driver who reached speeds well above 100 mph on at least four different freeways Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles and Orange counties before he surrendered in San Diego County.

The pursuit began after a traffic violation in the East Los Angeles area just before 1 p.m. The Volvo sport utility vehicle driver, weaving in and out of lanes and reaching speeds of 100 mph, continued on the 60, 710, 605 and 5 freeways with California Highway Patrol vehicles in pursuit.

At about 1:30 p.m., at least three CHP sport utility vehicles were trailing the SUV on the southbound 5 Freeway in southern Orange County. The pursuit entered San Diego County about 15 minutes later and reached an estimated 120 mph as the driver squeezed between other vehicles and a concrete freeway divider in the Carlsbad area.

"Because he was using all lanes, (it was) extremely difficult to predict where he's going to be at the time that we are deploying the spike strip," CHP Officer Pete Kim said. "There were several attempts at it, however they were unsuccessful."

The driver pulled to the side of the 5 Freeway and surrendered at about 2 p.m. Officers said he ran out of gas.

No weapons were found inside the car, officers said.

The driver faces felony evasion charges, officers said. NBC4 is attempting to confirm reports that the occupant was wanted for a drug-related offense.

Vikki Vargas contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple Fires Sparked Along State Route 67]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:30:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2015-06-30-09h32m56s241.png

A series of fires along State Route 67 near Lakeside created a large cloud of smoke across San Diego's East County Tuesday.

Six small fires burned just after 9 a.m. within a few feet of each other along the highway near Slaughterhouse Canyon Road.

One of the fires, named the Sycamore Fire by Cal Fire officials, was stopped at three acres.

When firefighters arrived, they found about a quarter acre brush fire in rocky terrain on the east side of the highway.

CAL FIRE, Lakeside Fire sent an update via Twitter, suggesting the fire was moving at a medium rate of spread (ROS) with no structures threatened.

Officials later confirmed that there were several fires within a small area. They have not determined a cause.

A large cloud of white smoke filled the sky as firefighters put out the flames.

Crews parked at least a dozen engines along the road as they walked through the charred area putting out hot spots.

On SR-67, between Lakeside and Poway, temperatures were in the mid 70’s, according to NBC 7's Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh.

She said conditions for firefighters were favorable.

Humidity was up 55 percent and winds were down - out of the East at 3 mph. Hopefully they get a jump on it, before things really heat up, after about 11 a.m. Today will be mostly sunny and top out in the low 90s. There was a 20 percent chance of a pop up thunderstorm for that area.

Check back for updates on this developing story. Get updates by downloading the free NBC 7 mobile app. 

<![CDATA[Richard Matt's Paintings to Guard Gene Palmer]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 03:30:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/150701-richard-matt-painting1-jpo-331a.JPG Richard Matt — who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York with another inmate and was shot dead Friday after three weeks on the run — was also a noted prison painter. Court documents allege that he gave some of his artworks to prison guard Gene Palmer in return for tools.

Photo Credit: NBC News Investigations]]>
<![CDATA[Group to Burn American Flag in NY]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:47:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/flag+burning.jpg

Hundreds of activists plan to set fire to the American flag at a Brooklyn park that memorializes thousands of Revolutionary War heroes Wednesday in protest of "systemic racism," drawing the ire of lawmakers and residents across the five boroughs.

A group called Disarm NYPD will lead the protest at Fort Greene Park at 7:30 p.m. The group says it will also burn the Confederate flag in a rally against the country’s long history of systemic racism after nine people were killed in a historic South Carolina church earlier this month.

The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to the more than 11,500 American prisoners of war who died in captivity aboard British prison ships during the Revolutionary War, sits at the center of the park, atop its tallest hill. The remains of some of those who died on the ships are interred in a crypt underneath the base of the war monument. 

That the protesters would burn the American flag in such a place of memorial doubles the outrage for some.

“It’s wrong,” state senator Marty Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn, said. “It’s a wrong message to send to our children, wrong message to send to our communities. Just plain wrong.”

Golden said he is determined to stop the group, saying that burning anything in a city park is illegal. He said he is calling on Mayor de Blasio's administration to step in to stop the protest.

The mayor’s office said Tuesday it is urging organizers to cancel the event and “find a respectful way to express their opinions.”

“This protest is a divisive, disrespectful way to express views, and does not reflect the values of our city,” spokeswoman Monica Klein said in an email statement.

Residents had mixed views about the planned protest.

“I wouldn't participate, but I think it's a good thing,” Clinton Hill resident Kevin Barry said. “I think people are exercising their freedom of speech.”

Others wondered if the protest would really make a difference.

“I’m not sure how effective it will be,” said one parkgoer named Stephanie. “Maybe it will draw attention, but I’m not sure how effective it will be.”

The group responded to criticism in a statement on its Facebook page.

“We find it a sign of the times that people can care so much about a piece of cloth, while at the same time be so quiet about black churches being burned all over the country,” the group said.

"We do not believe the ideals of America are anything to be revered ... We dream of what real freedom looks like: freedom from paramilitaries occupying our communities, beating and killing our sons and daughters; freedom from our communities being destroyed by the speculative capital of gentrification; freedom from mass surveillance; and freedom from systemic racism," the statement continued. "So, we will burn the American flag, a symbol of oppression and genocide, and in the same action, dismantle our stunted, cynical expectations of what is possible in the world."

In April, a group of artists hauled a 100-pound statue of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the park in the dead of night and installed it on top one of the war monument's pillars. 

The intent, in that case, was to highlight those who sacrificed their safety to fight against "modern-day tyrannies," the group said. The statue was removed a day after it was installed. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[$1.2M in Turf Replacement Rebates Up for Grabs]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 21:43:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/high+grass.jpg

A whole new round of turf replacement rebates is available through the city of San Diego starting Wednesday.

The flood of $1.2 million in rebates comes as the city implements new water restrictions to reach its state-mandated goal of 16 percent savings. Residents can apply to get $1.50 per square foot of lawn they replace with native or drought-resistant plants.

While the city hopes the funds will last, the previous round of grass rebates – a reserve of $750,000 launched in April – ran dry within a week. Officials admitted they were inundated with applications beyond expectations.

Outdoor watering makes up more than 50 percent of residential water use, city officials say, so they are taking a number of steps to cut down that usage.

The first is replenishing the turf replacement program; the second is cutting outdoor irrigation for residents and businesses to two days a week, five minutes per station.

Beginning on July 1, residents living at odd numbered addresses can water only on Sunday and Thursday, while even numbered addresses are limited to Saturday and Wednesday. Apartments, condos and businesses can water only on Monday and Friday.

The city also plans to significantly reduce its potable water use within the Parks and Recreation Department by reducing irrigation to two times a week for passive grass areas, like turf around picnic tables and fields.

Cres will be planning drought-tolerant landscaping in new parks, and they will stop using potable water for dog off-lease areas and turf medians – except when it’s needed to save trees.

For more on how to apply for a turf rebate, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>